The influence of human and rat recombinant interleukin-1 (hIL-1 beta and -1 alpha and rIL-1 beta) on acid secretion was investigated in conscious pylorus-ligated rats. Intravenous injection of either hIL-1 beta, hIL-1 alpha or rIL-1 beta dose dependently inhibited gastric acid output with an ED50 of 0.05 microgram, 0.5 microgram and 2.2 micrograms, respectively. The antisecretory action of IL-1 beta was associated with an increase in circulating levels of gastrin. hIL-1 beta-induced inhibition of acid secretion was dose dependently reversed by peripheral injection of the IL-1 receptor antagonist, IL-RA, with a dose ratio of 1:10(3) for complete reversal. The inhibitory effect of hIL-1 beta was blocked by indomethacin and was not modified by IV injections of the CRF receptor antagonist, alpha-helical CRF(9-41), or the monoclonal somatostatin antibody CURE.S6, or by systemic capsaicin pretreatment. These results show that systemic hIL-1 beta-induced inhibition of gastric acid secretion is mediated through IL-1 receptors and prostaglandin pathways, and does not involves CRF receptors, afferent fibers, or changes in circulating gastrin or somatostatin levels.